From the beginning, Marsha Kartzman approached art in an unconventional way; her path was not a straight line. Marsha had studied the Chinese language in college and as part of her studies, she learned Chinese calligraphy. Using the brush to make the characters fascinated her. She was much more interested in what the brush could do than making the characters. After college, this led Marsha to continue with calligraphy and brush painting. She was fortunate to find a teacher from the Museum School in Boston who was devoted to this art form and taught her the fundamentals of Sumi-E painting. During these lessons, Marsha gradually recognized that making art was meant to be her life’s work. Her teacher was the late painter Judith Liniado, who was willing to expand these lessons. It was Judy who gave Marsha the grounding in the fundamentals of drawing and painting; the tools necessary to make art. She gave her a rich appreciation and respect for materials and methods that has never left.
After these beginnings, Marsha continued her studies at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where her serious study and development as an artist took place. With these studies, Marsha began serious experimentation and search for her way of expressing her authentic self through the work. One day in a painting class, Marsha had an instructor who said, “I have been watching you and I realize that you see the world abstractly.” This statement fundamentally changed how she was to make art from that point forward. Marsha could use her innate way of seeing the world as the means of her creative expression. This instructor's statement guided Marsha and continues to sustain her while she pushes the work forward. During this time, Marsha also began to explore her fascination more fully with mark making, a direct link back to her study of Chinese calligraphy.
Marsha was fortunate to meet the painter and printmaker, Gema Philips at a monotype workshop held at MassArt. When the workshop ended, Gema invited some participants to her studio to continue to make monotypes and to paint. For several years, a group of us gathered once a week to paint on glass, watch our work go through the big press and, most importantly, talk about art, artists, ideas, and life. Unbeknownst to Marsha, these weekly meetings of talking and making art were slowly changing how she saw her work and understanding more thoroughly what she created. She found herself taking risks in her monotypes and painting, as well as exploring other mediums. She slowly began to find her “voice” and how to experiment in her work with her particular “hand”. During this time, Marsha began to explore handmade paper and to begin to make this herself. After a hiatus, she took this up again in the past few years. During the pandemic, she concentrated on her handmade paper using materials that would enhance and change the surface of this paper. Marsha is always experimenting and pushing her way forward with new methods and materials in her exploration and excavation of the creative process.